In an intriguing development, police have recovered the body of a Thane-based businessman whose stolen SUV with 20 gelatin sticks was found parked near Antilia, the iconic home of Reliance Industries Ltd. Chairman Mukesh Ambani, officials said here on Friday.
The body of Mansukh Hiren — who had reported his Scorpio SUV as stolen from north-east Mumbai earlier — was fished out with the help of a crane by disaster management workers from the marshes adjacent to the Thane Creek near Mumbra town.
Reported missing by his family on Thursday, the police recovered his mud-caked body around 10.30 a.m. on Friday from Reti Bunder Road near Thane Creek.
Tentatively suspecting it to be a case of suicide, the Naupada Police has registered an accident death report and is investigating the matter, said officials.
Hiren’s SUV was found on the afternoon of February 25, along with 20 gelatin sticks and a purported threat letter typewritten in broken English, sending shock waves through the country’s corporate and political circles.
A day later, a letter claimed to be sent by a dreaded terror group threatening the Ambani family and demanding a ransom, was also detected and subsequently found to be fake.
Hiren’s suspiciously parked SUV, was apparently driven to the spot near Antilia in the wee hours of February 25 but was detected only after around 12 hours by some locals who alerted the Police.
Raising the issue of security of corporate honchos living in the country’s commercial capital, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis demanded in the Maharashtra Assembly that the Maha Vikas Aghadi government should hand over the (Ambani) case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
“There are several strange coincidences in this case. The local police does not reach there, the Crime Branch does not go there, but (Assistant Police Inspector) Sachin Vaze reached there. He seized the car and the threat letter,” Fadnavis said.
He pointed out that the SUV owner Hiren was reportedly acquainted with API Vaze, who is the Investigating Officer in the case.
He sought to know why, when earlier the government had announced that the matter would be probed by an Assistant Commissioner of Police rank officer, was the case handed over to Vaze.
Even as Fadnavis demanded security cover for Hiren, reports trickled in that his body was found in the wetlands near Mumbra in Thane.